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Insights: The Church’s Teaching on Taxes; Detecting Marijuana Impaired Drivers

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May 12, 2017

California Bishops Urge Church and Society to Support Immigrant Families

The following is a statement released by the California Catholic Conference of Bishops:

During this week of Mother’s Day celebrations in the United States and Mexico, the enduring bonds of family will light up social media, overload telephone lines, and overflow many dining tables as children text, call, FaceTime, present home-made cards, feast, offer bouquets, and thank their mothers for their lifetime of labor and love.  The wisdom of the fourth commandment, to honor thy father and mother, is on display as children use all means of transportation and communication to be close to the ones who gave them life. 

Humanity begins in the environment of the family.  Each man and woman sees oneself as part of a family.  It is the primordial, essential human network.  The family is the basic unit of society.  Every family is also called to be a domestic church where children learn to lift their eyes to a merciful God and extend to their hands to all those who are the children of God, no matter their race, color, or creed. 

For this reason, these festive, holy days dedicated to mothers and their families is an opportune moment to urge public servants to promote laws and procedures that honor and strengthen family bonds. 

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Click here for the latest on all Catholic Advocacy Day bills.

 

Taxes, the Political Community, Responsibility and the Common Good

During the next few weeks, the California legislature will focus on the state budget.  With a supermajority, California Democrats will be in full control of the process but it is unlikely to be smooth sailing for them.

State tax revenue is coming in significantly below projections.  A recently enacted gas tax increase has put some Democrats on the hot seat.  Even within the Democratic Party business interests have helped elect more “moderate” Democrats who do not always have the same priorities as the state party.

Perhaps, most importantly, Governor Brown has been determined to get the state’s fiscal house in order before the end of his final term and what very well might be his farewell to elected public service.

No one likes taxes but they are inescapable in modern society.

So what does the Church teach about taxation and our duty to pay them? What is the moral dimension of paying taxes and taxation?

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Marijuana-Impaired Driver Detection Being Sought by CHP

California’s Prop. 64 legalized the use of marijuana last fall, and now the California Highway Patrol (CHP) and some lawmakers are urgently seeking out ways to detect impaired drivers under the influence of the drug.

As part of the approved ballot measure, the CHP will receive $3 million annually for four years to define detection protocols. First on that list is the technology to do so.

The Alere DDS2, a machine that quickly uses a saliva swab to determine impairment is currently in use in San Diego, Los Angeles and several other states. The Sacramento Police Department tested similar equipment during a pilot program to determine the accuracy and validity of the tests versus the standard blood draw.

Assemblymember Tom Lackey (R-Palmdale) has introduced Assembly Bill 6, which would create a CHP Task Force comprised of law enforcement officials, a prosecutor, physician, drug researcher, defense attorney and representatives of the marijuana industry. The task force would be charged with identifying methods to detect impairment by marijuana or other prescription drugs.

According to a recent Washington Post article, Colorado recorded a 48 percent increase in marijuana-related traffic deaths since the state legalized the recreational use of the drug in 2014, and A Denver Post article reported that the state saw its deadliest year of traffic fatalities last year since 2008.

For the latest on this and other legislation, visit the CCC’s legislation page.

 

U.S. Bishops Chairman Calls On Senate To Strip Harmful Proposals From House-Passed Health Care Bill

After the U.S. House of Representatives passed the American Health Care Act (H.R. 1628), Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Florida, Chairman of the U.S. Bishops' Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, called on the Senate to strip out the harmful provisions of the bill when the chamber takes it up for consideration.

"Even with efforts to improve the bill before passage, the American Health Care Act still contains major defects, particularly regarding changes to Medicaid that risk coverage and affordability for millions; it is deeply disappointing that the voices of those who will be most severely impacted were not heeded," said Bishop Dewane. "The AHCA does offer critical life protections, and our health care system desperately needs these safeguards. But still, vulnerable people must not be left in poor and worsening circumstances as Congress attempts to fix the current and impending problems with the Affordable Care Act."

Since discussions about repealing the Affordable Care Act began, the U.S. Bishops have repeatedly called for Congress to honor key moral principles in health care reform. Among them are: access for all people to comprehensive, quality health care that is truly affordable, including extra consideration for pre-existing conditions; respect for life by preventing the use of federal funds for abortion or to purchase health care plans that cover it; and conscience protections.

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Several Ways Available to Support Prison Chaplains

Those who are imprisoned fight a constant battle of hopelessness, feelings of failure, anger, and isolation. It is incredibly easy to become resentful and bitter against society. The love, redemption and grace of our God are important to combat the prison mentality, and this is why chaplains are such an integral part of our prison system. Chaplains believe in and advocate for restorative justice practices, both inside and outside the prison walls.

While prison chaplains are technically employees of the State of California, there is no state funding support for the chaplaincy program, its materials or others needs. Until recently, generous donations were able to help fund the program, but a lawsuit now prevents this avenue of support.

At the request of many people who have financially supported chaplains for years the California Catholic Conference   has developed a new mechanism by which contributions can be made to support the support the work of California chaplains in prisons and jails. The website www.RestoreJustice.com

now has a section devoted to the chaplaincy program and a donate function, as well other information including other ways you can get involved and chaplaincy employment information.

Take a quick minute to see the incredible success of this program and discern the calling to support or serve in prison chaplaincy.

 

May 12, 2017
Vol. 10, No. 17